Saturday, 28 March 2015

MAIRI - THE BIG 40


It is Mairi's birthday today!


Tulips à la Karen Dinsen.



Party time tomorrow.














Monday, 23 March 2015

DEREK FABIAN - THE ADVENTURER'S LAST EXPEDITION

One of our sailing and mountaineering friends has died. Derek Fabian, aged 85, lived a long and fulfilled life.


He is one of the men who, had he been born in a previous age, should have been on Shakleton's expeditions.  Certainly he went on plenty of mountaineering expeditions and these were in the days when men were men and women were double-breasted!


He sailed out of Loch Moidart where he kept his boat .. or rather, boats ... as he had various ones over the years.  They were wooden and reflected the man himself - full of character.


Often combining sailing with climbing mountains he sailed the coasts of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland, Ireland and Sweden. The burgee above is from an anniversary event of the Scottish Mountaineering Club.


A fine wake was held at Cruin Inn on Loch Lomond. There was a good turn out of old ... and I do mean 'old' friends.  Lots of craic ... lots of stories, especially ones which involved Derek! 
 
As is the nature of funerals, we all have our own stories.  When I first came to this country in the late 60's he and his wife were some of the first people I met.  What impressed me immediately was that he had built a North American style house!  As we had taken a notion to do the same ourselves  it was talking to him, and spending time in his house (made of wood, open plan, including open stairwell, with high celings) that put us on the road to building our own house in the early  70's.

While using his large circle of friends for his many ploys (including start of the sailing season's crucial boat launching to catch the Spring Tide) and ... as we all knew, using them "once" (as correctly !! stated in his eulogy) we also know that he was very generous in an unheralded way.  

M-m-m-m ... it has just occurred to me: last Saturday, the day after the eclipse, there was a 'super-tide' meaning that the sun and earth were lined up in such a way that the gravitational pull (of both) is stronger. The high tide was extra high.  Derek would have loved that, i.e. time to get the boat launched!








Friday, 20 March 2015

ECLIPSE - GLASGOW MARCH 2015

In Scotland the forecast cloudy weather was less dense than predicted so it meant that lots of people got a reasonable view of the solar eclipse today. Breaks in the cloud cover or blue skies in some areas gave lots of us a chance to photograph this phenomenon.


Outside our back door (Milngavie) at 9:20 am as there is 20 more minutes to go before the sun is completely covered (well, nearly completely).



The eclipse, in all, lasted 2 hours.  That meant that when I travelled to my home to a music class I attend on a Friday morning I was able to continue to see it. I park in a churchyard and so nothing for it but out with my iPhone to try a get a shot.


With a little help from Photoshop I was able to see the sliver of sun in this blue patch in the photo.  It is basically the above photo with adjustment of the exposure.




I tried using this pinhole technique to see the light shape on the rear piece of card.  It didn't really show up.  However another time a good trick would be to do the same thing but use a colander. It gives multiple images!



The BBC website shows this photo "Rebecca Beevers from Rugby, England, opted to observe the eclipse using the projection method - her pinholes marking out the date 20 March 2015."  It is the pinhole method as above but she dotted them to write this date.  Clever!

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Before the eclipse started I took a shot of shadows in the garden in order to see what would happen when the sun was blocked.  Here is Mairi's clematic gift for Mother's Day awaiting planting. It is placed on the east wall of the little woodshed.


Daffodils - before the eclipse.



 Daffodils - as  eclipse where sun is 3/4 obscured.

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I said to Ishbel and Alastair that they should note the shadows on the morning of the eclipse before it started ... and then see what happens when the moon starts to cover, then completely cover the sun.   Response:  "What's a shadow?!!!

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John was out today with proper glasses and photography equipment for taking photos.  With the task of looking after 2 wee ones today he was not able to venture further than the backyard.  Harriet, 1 and half years and wee Baby Ellie (2 months) were part of the photography expedition!  Even with is hands full he was able to obtain good shots; here are 2 taken from his Facebook posting.



I hope the photo of Ellie with her solar glasses is going to be kept for her 21st birthday!


One television reporter stated when talking about the eclipse tonight on the news that it was "the greatest show on Earth!"  For once, I agree with this use of the superlative!



Monday, 16 March 2015

PEDAL PIANO AT THE RSC

When is a piano not a piano? When it is 2 pianos of the same size put together, one on top of the other, on a special structure which has a keyboard (called a pedalboard) played by the feet, the sort of thing you see in pipe organs. It is a pedal piano and was part of the evolution of keyboard instruments.

I learned all this at a most interesting piano recital at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.  Roberto Prossedo, not... not Prosseco ... from Italy played for an hour and let us have a look at the instrument brought from Italy.







It developed in the early days of the piano as we know it today (early 1119th century) and was a welcome instrument for organists who wanted to practice.  It meant that they did not have to sit in a freezing cold church and also they did need someone to work the bellows!

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Photos: mine on the top and the other 2 are from Wikipedia.



Monday, 9 March 2015

GETTING KNITTED

Here are some recent photos of Baby Ellie, now nearly 2 months old and Harriet who is 1 1/2 years old.


I reckon Ellie is going to be sociable like the other 3 children. 


Harriet and I spent some time in the library last week.  Does she go for books? Not this time; it was the videos on the shelf she wanted.  Having said that she loves to sit with a book in her lap turning the pages.


Harriet and Hunka-Munka our toy monkey which sits at the front door.


 
Some years ago I knitted some socks with no particular child in mind.  It was simply to use up some wool from a pair I had knitted for myself.  Well, last week I found someone to wear them!


Here is a close-up of my little model.  She loves putting shoes or boots on and off and doesn't bother with such niceties as socks.  But as it was very cold outside I managed to get her to wear these socks in her weilies.  Quite a rig-out!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

WHEELING OUT THE WELLIES

Spring has arrived!  Things have been a bit quiet at Chez MacLeod mainly because we have been working hard on other things.

I like gifts ... and nothing is better than a gift of an unwanted piece of kit which is going to be thrown out when friends down-size.  I have been the proud recipient of this 
....

A wheel barrow!
....
Today, being the first day it has been warm enough to get out to do chores in the garden, I gave it a formal launch into service.  It is light, and just dandy for any jobs I need to do in my little patch.  So thank you Brian and Maggie; as they say in Glasgow, "It's Pure Dead Brilliant!"
....

There is only one thing I want to do it now ... paint it PINK!  At least I think I will paint the handles pink and I have decided that the colour of wee Harriet's wellies would be just fine.

Inspection time shows we have some, well almost come ....through the winter successfully.  


 All the bulbs have survived.  My squirrel-proof mesh covers worked.


Harriet, 19 months,  watching the hailstones cover the back garden.


 Alpine plant gets a pelting of hailstones between the sunny outbreaks.



The eucalyptus tree I planted carefully in a sheltered corner has, so far, not been affected by cold or frost.


We're off to the park now.....

Friday, 20 February 2015

A STRONSAY EXPERIENCE

The reason we have been so pre-occupied this month s that Iain and I have been updating the Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions for NE Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.  We have had our heads down for weeks now.


  One of the jobs I am doing is choosing photos for this new edition.  Here follows 2 photos taken in 2007 that are not going to be used.   :(


Briain's photo:   Brian and Maggie's boat (Westerly, white) Arctica with us (Seol-na-Mara) tied alongside at Stronsay Pier. Stronsay is an island in the Orkney group, east of the Main Island.



My photo:   A Bugatti on Stronsay pier early one morning! 

We were moored as shown in the above photo but Brian and Maggie had departed.  I awoke at 7:00 am to the sound of the big ferry (astern of us) revving up!  In my night attire (aka T shirt and knickers) I climbed out into the cock-pit and inserted the jack staff in the stern.  (The is my early morning ritual as I am a stickler for flag etiquette!) Anyhow, as I was doing this my attention was diverted: I heard the flip-flop, flip-flop sound of (and within my limited vision feet 7 feet above my head) a tribe (what is the collective noun for a group of monks?) walking a single line, hems of black robes swishing, heading for the ferry.! Uh-h-h.... hello?!  Nothing for it I climbed up the ladder which was right next to us (I must have shoved on a pair of jeans...) and when I got to the top of the ladder and clamboured on to the hard surface of the pier ... this Bugatti was parked right there (which had been out of my sight 7 feet below) forming the head of the queue awaiting to drive on the ferry!  The conga line of monks (from the monastery oh Papa Stronsay) had made their way on to the ferry in readiness for the trip to Kikwall.  

I think that is a much more interesting picture than perches and rocks showing at low tide!